Paranormal Romance, Flames of Hope. Random Selection 2


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After a two-hour workout on machines made to keep his muscles and tendons stretched and functional, Xylvar headed for the rendezvous with his new work partner. He ordered a second coffee and adjusted his wheelchair for a better view of the fold-back French doors, the potted flowering plants on the sidewalk, and anyone entering the café.

The female Kaid told him to meet was late, and he hated tardiness almost as much as he hated working with someone, for someone. If this had been for anything less than the chance to walk, he’d have left half an hour ago. Kaid’s credit lure set a fair snare for any mercenary, but for Xylvar it could mean to walk again—his life.

Worse, the female worked for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations, or FBPI. An agent with probably basic agency skills who followed cyber laws. How could her cyber skills, limited by international laws, help him locate the Pures’ epicenter, or even a base, or a sympathizer? To dig into the underbelly of lowlifes, you needed to ignore laws and rules telling you to desist. Yet Kaid wanted him to work with her, and had even given him strict instructions about how not to behave around her.

He would behave. But, if his luck was true to form, he’d do something to piss her off, and she’d arrest him for breathing.

His second coffee arrived. He lifted the cup and slopped the scalding brew over his hand. “Fuck.” Silver dusted his skin while he mopped up the dark liquid.

“Mommy, that man said a bad word, and his eyes are silver.”

The brat’s mother, a slightly rumpled version of the beauty he’d bet she’d been, leaned closer to her child, as if Xylvar would try to take a bite. Yeah, women saw him and cringed. He was scarred, his face disfigured, and then, of course, there was the obvious. He was part Eli, and far more sinister than most. It wasn’t hard to sense his blackened soul.

Only women with suicidal or psychopathic tendencies looked at his scars and the bitterness etched into his face, and kept on looking. Most wouldn’t meet his gaze, and gave his chair a wide berth, as if he or the machine was surrounded by a repulsion force field.

Other ex-Special Ops members recognized the look of a soldier who’d survived a triple tour, a look which revealed how little was left of a man’s humanity. Humanity was a resource that eroded every single day you survived in the abyss fed by constant mayhem and murder.

When you were the weapon.

The murderer. The assassin.

What emerged to face the world was more prominent and horrid than even his physical scars.

A woman with a head full of wild black curls appeared in the open door to the café. The woman stopped and looked inside and around till she saw Xylvar. Beautiful large slanted gray and silver eyes met and held his.

He scowled. Gods, he was seeing her everywhere.

Then he really looked. His breathing picked up, cold sweat coated his forehead and the back of his neck, and his chest burned with the ache of unreciprocated lust and love.


What perverse, galaxy-sized nut crush was this?

Did Kaid have some of Xylvar’s gift? Did the Eli leader dig inside Xylvar’s head to discover the one women in the whole fucking world who could stroke Xylvar’s inner beast and then crush its bones to dust?

He stared at her while he waited for lightning to pierce the roof and strike him dead. Jaz’s delicate beauty had matured and become less rounded. It took his breath away and scored his stone heart.

Xylvar shook his head like a wet dog, trying to shake out the sudden, unexpected desire. Desire for a woman. Desire to go punch Kaid in the face.

And then the lightning hit…and his brain started to sizzle.

Jaz was an FBPI agent? How? When? And why the fuck?

In Xylvar’s time, Jasmine had never shown any desire to be in enforcement. She’d focused on trying to build a career using her business degree. Sure, he taught her and Tony killer knife skills, self-defense, but only because he cared for their safety. Obviously, times had changed.

Jaz, a full blood Eli, moved more fluidly now. Her stride held a predator’s edge, like an Eli who lived by fighting to stay alive.

He held his inner battle in check and kept his gaze locked on hers. Leave. Leave. Leave, he urged her mentally. He could never work with her. With someone he’d cared for.

He couldn’t work—wouldn’t work with Jaz, ever.

Playing the game of outing extreme racists and terrorists could make staying alive a key issue. Or not staying alive.

Xylvar knew the stakes, knew his own mad skills. Willingness to risk his own crap life was one thing. The life of the female he once loved, female predator edge or not, the woman who belonged to his childhood best friend, was a whole vault of credits different.

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